Cervical Dysplasia [CD] refers to abnormal changes in the cells on the surface of the cervix. Although these changes are not cancer, they can lead to cancer of the cervix if not treated. Cervical carcinoma is one of the most common cancers among women, with an estimated 16,000 new cases of invasive cancer of the cervix and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Consequently, it is important to take a CD diagnosis seriously. However, mild and moderate cases can be completely resolved with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes nearly all cases of CD. HPV is a very common virus that is spread through sexual contact. There are many different types of HPV. Traditional Chinese Medicine cannot diagnose CD and HPV. It is crucial to get regular Pap smear exams. It is the only way to make sure you have a healthy cervix or get timely treatment if cells are abnormal.
Western medicine names the following as factors that may increase your risk of CD:
- Becoming sexually active before age 18
- Going long periods without getting a Pap Smear
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having other illnesses or using medications that suppress your immune system
Doctors aren’t exactly sure why becoming sexually active before 18 put women at greater risk. They think it might be because a woman is then more likely to have multiple partners, a risk factor in itself. Also, the cells of the cervix are special. They transform over time in a process called metaplasia. For this reason, the exposed area of columnar cells on the cervix is called the “transformation zone”. Over many years, flat cells, called squamous cells, replace these columnar cells. The risk of developing pre-cancer is increased if the transformation zone is exposed to a sexually transmitted carcinogen at a time of maximum cellular activity during adolescence. Interestingly, this fact is in harmony with the Traditional Chinese Medicine view that sexual activity at an early age is very detrimental to the Directing and Penetrating Vessels (corresponds to the female reproductive organs) because the uterus and these vessels are in a vulnerable state at that age. In Giovanni Maciocia’s text, Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine he contends, ” Adolescence is a very vulnerable time in the life of a girl and any cause of disease at this age has serious consequences. In fact, other causes of disease may play a contributory role. Emotional problems around the time of puberty also have a very deep influence on a girl’s life: they may cause stagnation of Qi in the liver, which easily affects the genital system in women. “
TCM TREATMENT FOR HPV AND CERVICAL DYSPLASIA
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the whole body when looking at disease and disharmony. A detailed intake process helps Chinese medicine practitioners understand the root of the disharmony. The initial intake process considers the patient’s internal condition as well as looking at their lifestyle, environment, and habits. Additionally, the diagnosis process relies upon palpation of the pulse and abdomen and observation of the tongue. Chinese medicine practitioners use all of this information to diagnose the root cause and pathway of the disharmony, based on TCM pattern diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made the practitioner will develop a treatment plan that is based upon the individual constitution of the patient.
Treatment usually consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, lifestyle and eastern dietary recommendations. Eastern diet therapy is an important part of treatment, as studies have shown women with CD have a high frequency of general nutritional deficiencies, as high as 67% in one survey. Women with cervical dysplasia were especially deficient in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Chinese medicine practitioners can help patients identify foods that are especially beneficial for them; this is done via an eastern nutrition profile. Eating foods that benefit the patient’s constitution help promote healing and rejuvenation of the body.
The length of treatment depends on the severity of the HPV as well as the patient’s overall health and any preexisting medical conditions. This is usually assessed during the initial consultation with a Chinese Medicine Practitioner.
All practitioners at The Nest have completed extensive post-graduate training in women’s reproductive health and have experience treating HPV, Cervical Dysplasia and other gynecological concerns.
If you have been diagnosed with HPV or CD and you are interested in HPV natural treatment options, please call The Nest for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation with one of our practitioners.